Reading his own earnest introduction, Minutaglio (a features writer for the Dallas Morning News) explains the tone and methodology of his portrait of Republican presidential front-runner Bush. Though the biography is not officially ""authorized,"" he says, it will not muckrake: there will be no ""dollops of drug tales"" forthcoming. This fence-sitting posture established, the well-researched facts of Bush's life unfold dispassionately, even in the dramatic bass-voiced reading of actor Born (veteran of TV soap All My Children). First comes Bush's remarkably accomplished family pedigree: from his industrialist great-grandfather to his father the former president. Young Bush (he's referred to as ""George W."" throughout) is then shown trying to live up to that legacy as he attends Andover, Yale, joins the Texas Air National Guard and goes into the oil business before gingerly entering politics. His reckless early years, marked by hard-drinking, obnoxious behavior and professional lassitude, give way to a more sober adulthood, as Bush learns the political ropes during his father's run for office. Minutaglio's reporting is at its sharpest when describing the delicate maneuverings of campaigning. Even here, however, a real sense of who George W. the person is fails to spark to life. Simultaneous release with the Times Books hardcover. Also available on CD. (Oct.) FYI: Simon & Schuster Audio has just published All The Best, a memoir by President Bush, read by the author with his extended family.